A HOMELESS man charged with the murder of a former supermarket worker has changed his plea to guilty.
In a dramatic turn of events at Chester Crown Court yesterday, Gary Anthony George, 42, pleaded guilty to the murder of 53-year-old Andrew Mackenzie Nall in August of last year after the Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, dismissed the defences of diminished responsibility and lack of control offered on his behalf.
George, who appeared in the dock alongside co-accused Christine Margaret Holleran, 50, also admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent after assaulting another homeless man, Brian James Reilly, with a broken bottle in a city subway on August 31, the morning after Mr Nall was killed at his flat in Eversley Park, Chester.
George had previously denied murdering Mr Nall, but admitted to killing him on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Earlier in the trial, jurors had heard evidence from three eminent psychiatrists who had analysed George, with all three stating that the defendant had no mental issues which had an effect on the case.
Judge Edwards said: “When mental experts differ it is for the jury to decide on diminished responsibility. None of the experts took the view there is a mental abnormality in this case. There is nothing for the jury to resolve.”
Mr Cole had also asked the jury to consider a defence for George of loss of control, after it was heard in court that, during a fight in the victim’s flat on August 30, Mr Nall had ‘come at George with a knife’, before he was wrestled to the ground by George and subjected to a brutal and sustained assault that led to his death.
Judge Edwards rejected the defence offered, adding: “We have heard that Mr Nall came into the room with a knife and then Mr George removed it from him by force.
“Once the knife has been removed then there is no further threat to the defendant. After this period he had the time and presence of mind to go into the kitchen and take two knives from the kitchen and proceed to kill Mr Nall.”
Following a short adjournment, George returned to the dock where he pleaded guilty to one count of murder and one count of grievous bodily harm with intent.
Mr Cole said: “During the course of yesterday and today we have taken the view that the defence of diminished responsibility has not been made out.
“He (George) has always accepted the killing of Mr Nall. It was whether or not these factors (diminished responsibility and loss of control) would be considered by the jury. They will now not be considered, hence the change in plea.”
Mr Nall’s body was found on August 31 at his home address with 49 stab wounds, a collapsed lung, compressed neck, broken ribs and salt put in his wounds and cleaning cream rubbed in his eyes.
During the trial, jurors heard how ‘strange wounds’ had been found on the victims body and how George had an ‘obsession’ with witchcraft and cult Australian horror movie The Loved Ones.
Holleran did not change her plea and maintains her innocence, accepting that she was at the flat but denying she had any part in the murder of Mr Nall, with whom she had been living and planned to wed.
George, who had been on a cocktail of heroin, crack cocaine, amphetamines, diazepam and four litres of sherry at the time of the murder, had told jurors earlier in the week that Mr Nall ‘did not deserve to die’.”
George, of no fixed abode, will be sentenced by Judge Edwards on Friday.
The trial against Holleran is proceeding.